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In booming economy, Census to pay more to attract workers

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U.S. Department of Agriculture | Flickr via Creative Commons

The Census is coming and the booming economy could create challenges for getting it done.

Conducting the U.S. Census requires workers – 500,000 in all. Those temporary employees need to be hired, trained and ready to go in the next two years. This creates a special challenge in today’s job market because there are as many job openings as there are applicants.

That means U.S Census Bureau recruiters will have to review about 2 million applications, the bureau estimates.

The hiring process will begin in January with some jobs beginning in the fall, but the bulk of the temporary positions, Olson said, will be staffed later in 2020 when the Census seeks out non-respondents.

Olson said they’re now offering a new online application process that takes a matter of minutes, while the in-person application process used to take hours. Applicants will go through a background check.

Interested applicants can keep tabs on the openings by joining their employment mailing list.

Article by Cole Lauterbach with Illinois News Network. For more INN News visit ILnews.org 

Illinois News Network, publisher of ILNews.org, is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media company dedicated to the principles of transparency, accountability, and fiscal responsibility in the state of Illinois. INN is Illinois’ pioneering non-profit news brand, offering content from the statehouse and beyond to Illinoisans through their local media of choice and from their digital hub at ILNews.org. Springfield Daily was granted republishing permission by INN.

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Sports

Tax exemption for pro sports leagues targeted in new federal legislation

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Federal lawmakers are again pushing to remove the tax exemption used by many professional sports leagues and associations.

Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst’s bill would bar any pro league that makes more than $10 million annually from being 501(c)6 tax exempt. She estimates that it would save $100 million over 10 years. The NFL, for whom the tax exemption was crafted in the 1940s, gave up its exempt status in 2015. Major League Baseball dropped it in 2007. Many organizations such as the PGA Tour and the National Hockey League are still nonprofits.

“Professional sports leagues – which are raking in millions of dollars from television rights and membership dues – shouldn’t also be scoring a hole-in-one with their taxes,” Ernst said in a release.

That amount of additional revenue may not balance the budget but supporters say the principle of tax cuts for connected businesses sets a poor precedent.

“$100 million over the course of 10 years in the grand scheme of things is not a lot of money, but the precedent is that we need to start getting rid of things like this, otherwise the debt isn’t going to go down,” said Alec Fornwalt, policy analyst with the Tax Foundation. “If we keep cutting taxes and we leave things like this carved out, the debt won’t go down.”

Many organizations that used the exemption didn’t save much money. The NFL actually posted a loss in a number of years and didn’t qualify for any breaks, but others did.

“The PGA now saves millions of dollars in taxes,” Fornwalt said. “It really has to do with how these organizations have moved themselves around this status.”

Similar legislation has been proposed in the past but has never gotten much traction.

Fornwalt said it was due to the lobbying efforts, and a couple well-timed pro golfer appearances, that it was removed from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that passed in December.

This would not stop organizations from convincing local governments to pay for their stadiums, something Illinoisans are all too familiar with.

Ernst’s bill was referred to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee for consideration.

Article by Cole Lauterbach with Illinois News Network. For more INN News visit ILnews.org 

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What to expect from President Trump’s nominee

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The Hon. Amy C. Barrett and the Hon. Diane S. Sykes of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit Courtesy of the University of Notre Dame and the Wisconsin Court System

Two federal judges from Illinois’ northern district are on President Donald Trump’s shortlist to replace retiring U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Trump told reporters that he would announce his pick to replace the Kennedy on Monday evening. Kennedy was appointed by President Ronald Reagan.

Kennedy was often the swing vote that sided with the liberal end of the court on matters including “in particular, gay rights, and sometimes abortion and even more occasionally race,” said Carolyn Shapiro, associate law professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology’s College of Law.

Two judges from the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court in Chicago are reportedly being considered: Appellate Judges Amy Coney Barrett and Diane Sykes. Neither live in Illinois.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pointed to Judges Raymond Kethledge and Thomas Hardiman as two that “presented the fewest obvious obstacles to being confirmed,” according to a report from the New York Times.

The likely topic of questions that would come from the Senate for any nominee, Shapiro said, would be about their views on abortion due to a potential challenge to Roe v. Wade. Since Illinois passed House Bill 40, which contained a trigger that would make a national ruling on abortion less of a factor locally, it wouldn’t have near the effect that a ruling changing the legal status of abortion in the U.S. would elsewhere.

“[HB 40] has a lot of guarantees where, regardless of what happens to Roe v. Wade, women will still have access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare in the state,” she said.

Gov. Bruce Rauner shocked Republicans by signing the bill into law. The backlash against the bill was a factor in the freshman governor facing a hard-fought primary challenge in March.

As for the changing dynamic of the court, Shapiro said she expects more cases regarding free speech and its relation to regulation, akin to Janus v. AFSCME, to come before the court in the future.

 

Article by Cole Lauterbach with Illinois News Network. For more INN News visit ILnews.org 

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Trump: “I’ll be signing something” to “keep families together”

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President Trump says he will sign an executive order this Wednesday afternoon ending family separation at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Justice Department officials working on executive action to end immigrant family separation of children at border “We still have to maintain toughness or our country will be overrun by people, by crime, by all of the things that we don’t stand for and that we don’t want,” Mr. Trump said during a Wednesday meeting with members of Congress at the White House. “So I’m going to be signing an executive order in a little while before I go to Minnesota. But at the same time I think you have to understand we are keeping families together, but we have to keep our borders strong.”

He called the measure “somewhat preemptive” but called on Congress to work towards a more permanent fix on the issue, saying that perhaps a more comprehensive immigration reform bill– one that may tackle the family separation issue, while also addressing security concerns, etc.– may be possible.

“Beyond this one problem of immigration— you can mention the word ‘comprehensive’ or you don’t have to use it,” Mr. Trump said. “A lot of politicians don’t like the word ‘comprehensive immigration reform,’ but I really think we have an opportunity to do the whole immigration picture and that’s what I’m looking to do ultimately. But right now we want to fix this problem and I think we’ll be able to do that.”

With this, he also called on Democrats for support.

“They really would like to have open borders where they can just flow in,” Mr. Trump said of congressional Democrats.

Family separation has seen a recent uptick due to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ “zero-tolerance” policy for illegal entry at the U.S.-Mexico border. Because any illegal border crossing is prosecuted, parents and children are separated during the legal process.

The president said child smugglers, which he cited as a major reason behind that parent-child separation policy Tuesday, “use these children as passports to get into the country.”

Addressing Mr. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence spoke publicly on the issue for the first time at the meeting, ultimately echoing Mr. Trump’s call for Congress to address family separation by a more permanent means.

“We don’t want families to be separated,” Pence said. “We don’t want children taken away from parents, but right now under the law, as we sit with these law makers, we only have two choices before us: number one, don’t prosecute people who come into our country illegally. Or, prosecute them and then under court cases and the law, they have to be separated from their children.”

Secretary Treasury Steve Mnuchin, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were present at the White House meeting as well.

Mr. Trump also announced that he will be cancelling the congressional picnic Thursday, saying that it “didn’t feel right” to host the gathering while lawmakers and the administration work towards a solution on immigraiton.

“We want to solve this immigration problem,” Mr. Trump said.

This meeting marks Mr. Trump’s second meeting with Congress this week, following his meeting with House GOP members Tuesday, in the midst of a backlash over the separation of immigrant children from their parents who enter the country illegally through the southern border.

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